Steps to Become an Elementary School Teacher in Florida

Becoming a certified elementary school teacher in Florida requires several steps. Specific education, examination, and student teaching requirements must be met in order to apply for a state license. Find out more about the requirements below. Schools offering Elementary Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Florida Elementary School Teacher Career Information

Elementary school teachers work directly with children in grades K-6. Teachers must be knowledgeable across several subject areas. Read below to learn about specific education requirements, exams, and other career information.

Education Required Bachelor's degree from a state-approved elementary teacher preparation program
Exams Required FTCE General Knowledge Test, FTCE Professional Education Test, FTCE Subject Area Test
Certification Renewal Period Five years; renewable
CEU Credits Required for Renewal 6 semester hours of college credit; must include 1 hour of teaching students with disabilities
Mean Salary (2018) $50,070*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026, nationwide) 7%*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree

The first step in the traditional route towards becoming an elementary school teacher in Florida is to complete a degree in a state approved teacher preparation program. Many in-state universities offer approved programs, which result in either a bachelor's or master's degree in elementary education. Either degree is acceptable for applying to the Florida Department of Education for a teaching license.

Elementary education programs cover all subject areas necessary for elementary school instruction, including credit hours in math, natural sciences, history, social sciences, and language arts. Additionally, most programs also require courses in educational psychology, diversity, instructional technology, and pedagogy. Programs that result in a master's degree usually require more in-depth work in classroom instruction, research, methodology, and diversity.

Although programs differ by school, any state approved program will suffice for the education portion of the teaching licensure requirement.

2. Pass the FTCE General Knowledge Exam

Many universities require students to pass the FTCE General Knowledge Exam prior to being accepted into the teacher preparation program, though this can vary by program.

The General Knowledge Exam is made up of four parts: English language skills, reading, math, and an essay section. Students must pass each section in order to apply for licensure. It costs $130 to take all four parts of the exam. A passing score for each subject is a scaled score of 200, and the essay passing score is eight out of twelve points.

3. Student Teaching

Once students have completed all coursework in their preparation programs, they move on to student teaching. All state-approved teacher preparation programs require successful completion of student teaching. During this process, students gain real work experience in the classroom while supervised by a licensed teacher. Typically, universities require an evaluation of each student at the end of the student teaching.

4. Pass Additional State Exams

In order to obtain a full professional license, students must also take and pass the FTCE Professional Education Exam and the FTCE Subject Area Exam. The Professional Education Exam measures knowledge of teaching strategies, instructional design, principles of education in Florida, and ELL (English Language Learner) instruction. The applicable Subject Area Exam is the Elementary Education K-6 exam, which tests language arts and reading, social science, science, and math. The fee for each of these exams is $150.

5. Apply for Licensure

Once all education and testing requirements have been met, students can apply for a professional license with the Florida Department of Education. The application requires fingerprinting and completion of a set of paperwork, available on the DOE's website, as well as a processing fee and official transcripts. Advisors in teacher preparation programs can help students apply with the appropriate materials.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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